Ride Report – Sparkford to Cheddar

Saturday 1 June 2019

Saturday – the First of June, this year —and it was a beautiful day. Which was good, cos the days before had been a little “iffy”; dark and dreary and sometimes rainy. I for one didnt wanna pedal all that way with the rainwater dribbling off the peak of my cap!
A number of members of Stalbridge Crumblies Cycling Club, including 3 more youthful ones, a visitor and the patriarch – Namely Richard Nichol, Mary, Charlie, Phitphill, Alex, Dave Matten, Alan, Martin, Ben, Paul Baker, Ron, Me (Think that’s all — Apologies if I missed anyone out). — All converged on the café at Haynes Motor Museum
That was a big turn-out for me, I don’t usually get many, but I believe Charlie had done some recruiting – – Richard didn’t want to do the trip, but do his own thing and meet us all back at Haynes at about 4pm.
So all, but Richard, set off on time (more or less) out of Haynes, up to Sparkford, right and right again; on for over 4 miles before our next turn. It was really lovely and I tried to set a comfortable pace, so that it was possible to enjoy the countryside now it’s all fat and green and full of wild flowers; the perfume of which was a bit overpowered by Somerset & Dorset’s most abundant blossom – The Dorset Stinkwort. Through South and North Barrow, Lovington, and Hornblotton (named after that that famous fictitious  sea  captain  of Napoleonic times – Horatio Hornblotton!). Left, down towards the river at Baltonsburgh and across the levels, via Coxbridge and out onto the busy A361, for a mile, towards Glastonbury. Right at Wicks Lane, so we could skirt the Tor ( or “tower” if you believe Phil) north easterly. It is a spectacular site, whether Arthur Pendragon is buried there or not! – out onto the Wells road for a mile or so, then left for a big loop of lanes, taking us through Wookey til it brought us out on the main road just before Westbury sub Mendip: There were some really pretty lanes in this section, with sunshine dappled through the trees overhead and a stream/ little river running beside. —AND we had had no incidents during all of this, not even someone falling into the river, from gawping at the view. The last few miles, unfortunately, were on the busy main road and the drivers were their normal selves. But it did afford fuel for discussion for certain members of the crew.
Boobed over lunch in Cheddar, one little café was prepared to find room for us all, but folk decided they wanted to eat in the open, beside the river. Retraced our steps to the shopping area, for sandwich bars etc, and then foolishly finished up in a café: except Charlie and Alan who had the cheek to park their bikes in the café carpark and then saunter over the road to the pub for their lunch. The rest of us waited and waited and waited and waited for our food —So long that about 10 minutes after the last person had finished their food Charlie walked in, ready to go, and telling us what a good meal he and Alan had had; all served within around 10 mins. Grrrrr! Our meals weren’t that impressive.
Suffered a mutiny here, I’d planned to “ride to Cheddar”; return by the same route. Let the nutcases who wanted to climb the Gorge do it and return to we more sapient mortals as we sat having a second coffee. Everyone wanted to do it!!! Nobody wanted to whimp, except me. So we did it and it was as bad as I’d expected! The cognoccenti told me that it was only steep at the bottom. Liars; it was steep forever. Even when the worst was over, it carried on rising steadily, til you could “count the rivets on passing aircraft”! Best thing was the breeze, up at the top, because it had been very hot inside the gorge.
Anyway we rode our loop through Priddy and then set course for Glastonbury. Paul Baker left us here to make his own way back to Stoke. We picked up our outward route just north of the Tor (Tower???), back through Baltonsburgh and back to Haynes just after 5pm. Most people were suitably tired and not particularly sparkling about the remainder of the journeys they had to do to their various homes. But it was a lovely ride, in beautiful weather and mostly lots of chatter and banter.
I enjoyed it and I hope the rest of you did: thankyou for coming
By the way, if anyone is passing on that top road to Priddy, could they keep an eye out for my teddy; I seem to have lost it —— Mickeydrippin


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